Yes, Mr. Costen Mapemba, the President of the Music Associations of Malawi, abbreviated as MAM is a shame to the music body.
Those that follow Drumming Pen will remember that long before the Chibuku Road to Fame Competition commenced, I dwelt on the requirements that the body set up for entrants.
As misfortune has it, the Professor was also one of the three judges during the northern region competition that was held on March 20, 2010 at the Mzuzu Stadium.
At the Mzuzu feat 11 bands were scheduled to compete, two chickened out and nine bands were the ones that fought for the two northern region spots.
Body, Mind and Soul emerged victorious followed by Kula Band.
As judges, as I said last time we had spent hours watching and assessing different performances of the bands in competition and when we established that the two winning bands had won we were about to go on stage and announce the winner, Mr. Costen Mapemba told us that we needed to disqualify Body Mind and Soul which had won.
Why? He said because the band has already an album to their name.
Before the competition, there were conditions that were set for entrants some of which were that the bands that have ever produced an album should not contest while bands that had a member or members that were below 18 years of age were automatically ineligible.
In the posting, which I made after the Mzuzu competition, I trashed the reasoning of Mr. Mapemba who said the Chibuku Road to Fame Competition aims at exposing hidden talent where a drummer should now leave his or her set or a guitarist should now go on the leading microphone and lead in the singing. To MAM this is talent identification.
Therefore, based on the criteria, Dave Luhanga who trades as Street rat when he is leading his Body, Mind and Soul band, Sweetman and The Royal Sons and Daughters, and Fitzgerald Simfukwe and the Chitipa Wailers were to be disqualified because they all have albums to their names whose lead vocals were performed by them.
As judges, we declined to enforce this suggestion because we were asked to judge performers that MAM had admitted to perform having satisfied the conditions set before a band could be allowed to partake in the competition.
It is a big shame when we established that in the mind of the whole MAM president, a drummer leaves his or her set to take up the leading vocals then this is talent exposure.
Mr. Costen Mapemba once again decided to disqualify the Body Mind and Soul on the premise that they already have an album. It is a shame that Mr. Mapemba applies competition conditions in reverse.
Body, Mind and Soul Mr. Mapemba was supposed to be disqualified the first day they expressed interest to partake in the competition. The band claims that they do not have any album but when they won the Music Cross Road Competition two-years ago, they were assisted by the organisers to produce and compile five or so songs that was used to promote their shows in Europe as is the case.
Art is a form of expression that cannot be short-changed because one person has to advance personal interest. Good music, which is a piece of art, is something that needs no one’s advertisement. It is self-expressive.
Strange that others now think the way Mr. Mapemba organised Chibuku Road to Fame Competition means that the requirements were that one has to be very bad in music to succeed.
It is a shame that an association that was created to assist musicians is merely there to frustrate them. Mr. Mapemba should start thinking as the head of a musical body and stop bringing disrepute to the association.